OCMS News June 2009

Interview with ‘The Sims 3’ Developers
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunset Valley is an open town and the lives of the resident Sims are full of surprises to discover. Like any town there are those who are meeting the challenges of getting ahead in their careers, trying to meet the love of their life, or raise a family. As you get to know the Sims in town, Sims Players may be surprised to meet some familiar names. In many ways Sunset Valley is a prequel so Players have the chance to change the lives of some very iconic Sims. A Player can jump right in and control one residents or create a Sim or family of their very own and become part of the town’s story.

Players can also download Riverview which is a town in a rural setting. There are completely different stories and Sims in Riverview. There are new places to visit and new items to experience that can’t be found in Sunset Valley. Riverview can be downloaded for free from The Sims3.com after registering your game.

Nanovision MIMO UM-710 USB Monitor Review
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
If you’re like one of many technology junkies today, then your computer of choice may be a laptop, which severely limits your multi-mon options. Today’s laptops (and even netbooks) usually have an extra monitor port, but lugging around a full-sized LCD monitor with your laptop isn’t a feasible option. What if someone made a tiny little monitor that you could stow away in your laptop bag?

Nanovision did the thinking for you and introduced their MIMO UM-710 monitor, which is a cute little seven-inch secondary monitor. It is based on USB technology, so it is incredibly easy to hook up, and works on just about any modern computer. Unfortunately, your host computer needs a decent amount of horsepower to drive this thing, as we’ll soon see.

My Sims Racing (Wii) Review
Monday, June 29, 2009
Gamers get to select from a quick race options as well as multiplay and career modes that allow gamers to customize not only their characters but their cars and tracks as well.

The game allows up to four players to compete against one another and the wide variety of customizations and upgrades ensure hours of replay value.

Choosing the Right Graphics Tablet
Monday, June 29, 2009
There you are: you have finally decided to purchase a graphics tablet. Whatever your reasons may be for purchasing one, you are now faced with a very major decision: amongst all the numerous graphics tablets out there, which one would best suit your needs and your budget ?

Wacom is without any doubt, a genius when it comes to graphics tablet (also known as pen tablet) technology and is continually improving their products. Due to these frequent upgrades, this article will only touch the following Wacom models: Bamboo, Bamboo Fun (a successor and an improved model over the Graphire series), Intuos3 (the 3rd generation of Intuos) and Cintiq.

iStar xAGE-N99 Hard Drive Docking Station
Sunday, June 28, 2009
These docking stations are so convenient becuase it lets us easily transfer data and troubleshoot drives without having to open up our cases or perform lenthy installation procedures. I myself have suspended a temporary drive from the side of my case, flirting with disaster. These docks are not only easier to use, but make me look professional — like I almost know what I’m doing. There’s no need to copy large files to a slow USB key when a friend visits… just slap in a hard drive and copy as fast as the drive will let me.

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits Review (360, Wii, PS3)
Saturday, June 27, 2009
The hits keep on coming in the highly popular Guitar Hero franchise with the latest release, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits. The 48 song collection contains all the best tracks from the previous Guitar Hero games, and allows gamers to not only play Guitar, but add vocals and drums as well.

The game is not a track pack, but a an enhanced game release that allows players not only to enjoy classic tracks in a full band setting, but adds a new level of challenge such as being able to use to bass pedals for the drums in an expert mode.

World of Warcraft MEGA FAQ!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Warcraft is a beast. You must seriously consider if you’re ready to take it on as if you were committing to banned substances. Levels, achievements, heavy multiplayer, many different builds to tinker with, a full economy, gear with no end, and just tons of things to collect for vanity, you really have no hope of having any other entertainment if you start playing WoW.

Yes, this game is extremely fun. If you like anything in gaming you will find something to like in this game, and no one can argue with the strength of the multiplayer, which is essentially 1/4 of the game unless you just love running dungeons and raids.

EA Sports Active (Wii) Review
Friday, June 26, 2009
Enter EA SPORTS and the latest interactive fitness product for the Nintendo Wii: EA SPORTS Active. Where Wii Fit emphasized Eastern health and wellness with balance and yoga, Active emphasizes Western fitness that gets the heart pumping and the body sweating. It is balance board compatible, but it’s not required, and it incorporates use of the nun-chuck, with a specially-designed leg band, as well as a resistance band with hand straps. Like Wii Fit, users can create a Fitness Profile to track their personal fitness progress.

Verbatim BD-R and BD-RE BluRay Media
Friday, June 26, 2009
Let’s face it: DVD is on the way out as a data storage medium. Don’t believe me? Do you remember when writable CDs were all the rage? I do, and I have a receipt for the $1000 2x drive to prove it. Once writeable DVDs became affordable, they were the backup medium of choice, and only recently have dual-layer products become affordable.

Scientists keep making the optical data bits smaller and smaller, which is the basic fundamental difference between a CD and today’s BluRay medium. Sure, the technology has matured, and more features added to the discs, but its sheer capacity makes BluRay the storage king.

Enermax Aurora Micro Aluminum Keyboard Review
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Some users just like really tiny keybaords. Personally I am an ergonominc fan, so the wider my hands can be apart, the better. For those who like tiny keyboards (programmers love them for some odd reason), then you’ll be glad to know that there’s finally one that’s built like a tank: the Enermax Aurora Micro. This review was actually written using this keyboard entirely, in addition to some all-day testing.

At first look, the keyboard is very attractive. While the bottom of the keyboard is a sturdy plastic, the top frame is brushed aluminum, which has been anodized pitch black.

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen Movie Review
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Following up the success of “Transformers” was not easy task, and thankfully Director Michael Bay and the amazing wizards at Industrial Light and Magic are up to the challenge as “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is the rare sequel that outdoes the original in almost every way.

The film once again stars Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky who is still dating the lovely Mikaela (Megan Fox), as he prepares to head east for college.

Will the Next Great Tech CEO Please Stand Up?
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Admit it. You missed Steve opening WWDC (Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference). You missed him walking out at the end of Phil Schiller’s keynote where Steve walks from behind the curtain and says , “One more thing!”

There was no colored water to dazzle folks. No one sat down on the chair, whipped off the shoes and socks, held them in the air and said “today we’re unveiling iSox.” And five million people ran to the Apple store scooping up pairs at $50 per. There was no rush to roll-out matching laces, iSox cases, a dizzying array of toenail colors mixed.

Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings Review (Wii)
Monday, June 22, 2009
The man with the Fedora hat and bullwhip is back as Dr. Indiana Jones returns in an all new adventure. In Indiana Jones and The Staff of Kings, Jones is tasked with locating the Staff of Moses and as usual the Nazis and all manner of enemies are hot on his heels and dangers abound.

The opening segments of the game on the Playstation 2 version I played deftly combined a gameplay tutorial with an exploration of a dark and foreboding underground chamber that was complete with traps, puzzles, and a valuable artifact.

Prototype (PC) Review
Monday, June 15, 2009
Those nuts over at Activision have done it again. They have dropped another golden egg in our laps and that baby is hatching into what could be one of the biggest games of 2009. I was surprised and impressed with their latest masterpiece, so much so that I was willing to buy it the day it hit stores (which was on June 9th in case you’re wondering). If you haven’t unleashed your potential as an undead, virus-plagued, morphing super beast, then you haven’t experienced Prototype.

In the beginning of the game, you get a preview of what is to become of the city of Manhattan. People have become these zombie-like creatures that are constantly vomiting blood on the sidewalk and grass, victims of the spreading virus that has overtaken the city.

InFamous Review (PS3)
Sunday, June 14, 2009
For a bike messenger named Cole, his day and life are about to be turned upside down thanks to a mysterious package he is assigned to deliver. The package turns out to be a bomb of incredible power which turns Cole’s home of Empire City into utter destruction and chaos.

In the new game InFamous, Sucker Punch Productions and Sony have crafted a slick and utterly compelling action adventure which is easily one of the top titles released for any console.

Punch-Out for Wii Review
Saturday, June 13, 2009
With a 15 year long absence from Nintendo’s consoles, many gamers completely wrote Punch Out!! off as an oldschool game. The series was a hit during the NES era remembered by virtually any owner, spawned a well received sequel during the SNES era — then it just disappeared. It missed out on the N64’s time in homes, and also called in sick for Gamecube duty.

Thankfully, with Nitnendo’s desire to revive old franchises, Punch Out!! was finally set to rise from the ashes. While nothing much has changed in the core gameplay since the 1987 original, the game does its job blending the nostalgia from over a decade ago with mainstream gaming to entertain you. It’s a good game and does the name justice-even if it’s for a short while.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game: The Review
Friday, June 12, 2009
With the film scheduled for 2012 Atari has given fans a treat to tide them over with the release of Ghostbusters the Video Game. The game is set two years after the second film and features the voices of Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, Alyssa Milano, and Brian Doyle Murray.

Players are cast as a new recruit who is along to help the guys and test new equipment. No sooner do you show up for work, when a large supernatural event occurs and plunges New York City into chaos as random specters are menacing the town.

Rock Band Unplugged Review
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
So Harmonix, MTV Games, EA, and Backbone got together to create a game for those who didn’t want to flick their screen with a stylus and finger an attachable keypad. I have a few things to say about the lack of attachments on PSPs, but I’ll come back to that later. So out comes what could be the coolest PSP port since God Of War. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you RockBand Unplugged. And let me tell you, they had a few tricks up their sleeves when it came to making this as addictive as the original.

Piracy as Free Advertising
Monday, June 08, 2009
Hugh Jackman, producer and star of X-Men, said he was “disappointed” when an early version of his movie was prematurely set free on the Internet. Wolverine on the other hand was P***ed !!!! Oh yeah…so was News Corp’s Rupert Murdock.

The incident helped Hollywood strengthen their case that piracy is robbing them of revenues and hurting everyone…including consumers.

Overburning: An Intro to the Dark Side
Thursday, June 04, 2009
I personally think that overburning is a very unstable process. I don’t like it, and I never suggest that you do it. But if you feel the need to go to the Dark Side, then here are a few tips to get you on your way. First, make sure your burner is capable of overburning. Keep in mind that even if you do succeed in overburning your disc, you might not be able to use it afterward on anything but your computer. I’ll explain why later.

BringIt Lets You Compete Online for Real Cash
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Bringit is a consumer driven website which allows gamers of all different skill levels to compete in their favorite games for real cash! Through our safe and secure website our members set up games by Barking in our lobbies to other members or posting open challenges. Members can play 1 v 1 as well as NCAA Bracket style tournaments in games such as UFC Undisputed, Madden, COD, Halo, Super Smash Brothers, and many more!

Improve Video Quality with nVidia’s CUDA
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
The software can dramatically improve the quality of videos captured by cell phones, digital cameras and other handheld devices as well as older videotape content. Hiding much of its forensic post production clean-up, the software uses familiar one-click touch-up tools (Figure 1). Within a few minutes, even an intern can stabilize, brighten and sharpen flawed videos.

Left 4 Dead Info!
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Introducing the AI Director 2.0, L4D’s dynamic gameplay is taken to the next level by giving the Director the ability to procedurally change weather effects, world objects, and pathways in addition to tailoring the enemy population, effects, and sounds to match the players’ performance. The result is a unique game session custom fitted to provide a satisfying and uniquely challenging experience each time the game is played.

Monkey Island Revived by TellTale!
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
PC Gaming has evolved over the past 20 years or so. Back in 1990, LucasArts (then called LucasFilm Games) created one of the best adventure games of all time: The Secret of Monkey Island. Back then, the studio had a stream of hits with Indiana Jones, Day of the Tentacle, and the Sam and Max franchise. Other studios were making huge profits with these adventures, such as King’s Quest and Phantasmagoria.

Sadly, gamers lost interest in this type of gameplay somewhere in the mid-nineties, about the same time as 3d-acceleration and the PlayStation One came onto the scene. Strange coincedence.

Space Ace Review (iPhone)
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
There are a few advantages to the iPhone version. For one, you can resume the game if you are interrupted for any reason, such as if a call comes in. If you set the game to “infinite lives” then you’ll never have to restart the game ever. Just press the Home button to exit. However, once you’re in the middle of a game, there is no way to get to the main menu. Basically you have to restart the application and answer “no” to “would you like to resume your previous game?”.

Building a Media Center PC Part 2
Monday, June 01, 2009
Not too long ago I realized that I could pretty much write whatever I wanted and get away with it. So I decided that I wanted to write a review on an adult 3D game that was all about sex. Complete with video and lots of screenshots. I quickly found out that my previous revelation was merely fantasy and I was pretty much on the hook to write the second part of this Media Center PC bit. I would have much rather watched CGI porn and given you guys a real show today, but alas… So here goes with the second part of the MCPC article.